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XXXI Shroud of Babel

Here is the photograph the puzzle pieces made on dark brown cloth exposed to the sun for 20 months.  Now that's a time exposure for sure!




It is clear that I started in the lower right corner of the puzzle with the teal-colored water, the boats, and the quay.  I rapidly became lost in the darker pieces that followed-- "The muddies" as I came to know them.  Assembling puzzles by progressing color groups was a technique that "the muddies," with their smudgy, dark, vague coloring, openly defied.  Hitting the wall-- literally the wall of the tower--  I went on vacation in May of that year, and upon my return "muddied about" for a month or so before I decided I was way behind on pace and needed a new place to attack.  I wanted to reduce the number of pieces that I needed to sort through as quickly as possible.

I had already separated all the sky-looking pieces onto a separate felt-covered board.  So I decided to work next with the sky: a deep blue on the right side of the tower that gradually turned more coppery and whitish as it moved to the the tower's left.

The sky, to a much larger extent than any other part of the puzzle, invited false solutions that sometimes would make it seem that the next pieces were missing. Despite puzzle-maker's claims that "no two pieces are alike,"  I found this to be patently false.  Many pieces were interchangeable and looked OK in situ, only later to be proven to be the wrong pieces.  As documented earlier, two three-by-three sections of sky could be moved as a block from the left sky to the right sky with no real disturbance to the eye.  Only a careful study with a magnifying glass would finally settle the issue as to their proper placement. 

By August, as I was finishing the final lighter pieces on the puzzle's left (or West) sky, I achieved a single day's total of @ 220 pieces. This would stand as the record for a day's work.  "Everything just fell into place" as they like to say.The sky became a clear victory, not only by the dispatch of a huge block of color, but by the establishment of horizon lines, and the outline of the tower from the top to the horizon lines.
Cydonia photo: ESA

This is the journal of David Ross
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